Security Experts:

Flaw Allowed Removal of Any Video on Facebook

A researcher has discovered a vulnerability that could have been exploited to easily delete any video on Facebook. The social media giant released a temporary fix within a couple of hours after learning of its existence.

Facebook announced recently the availability of a new feature that allows users to include videos in comments. A few hours after the announcement was made, India-based researcher Pranav Hivarekar started analyzing the feature and discovered a “logic flaw” that could have been leveraged to delete videos from the social media website using API requests.

According to the expert, when users want to add a video to a comment, the video is uploaded to their account and assigned a video-id identifier. The problem was that when users decided to delete a comment and the video attached to it, Facebook’s systems did not check if the user initiating the process was the actual owner of the video.

An attacker could have added an arbitrary video to their own comment using the targeted video’s video-id. When they deleted the comment, the original video would get removed as well even if it did not belong to the attacker. The researcher demonstrated his findings using Facebook’s Graph API.

The vulnerability was reported to Facebook on June 10. A temporary patch was released within two hours after Facebook confirmed receiving the report and within 30 minutes after the bug was verified. A permanent fix was rolled out the next day.

The researcher has not disclosed the exact amount of money he received from Facebook for reporting the vulnerability, but he said it was a five-digit sum.

Facebook has paid out more than $4.3 million since the launch of its bug bounty program in 2011. The list of researchers rewarded this year by the social media company includes Ionut Cernica, who earned $5,000 for a flaw that could have been exploited to impersonate users, Anand Prakash, who received $15,000 for a password reset issue, and Jack Whitton, who got $7,500 for a bug that could have allowed hackers to hijack accounts.

Related: Facebook Patches Vulnerability in Messenger App

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.